I don't usually think in year-long increments, but it occurred to me tonight while I was out Christmas shopping that this hasn't been a very good year.
There was our failed adoption, which keeps casting a gloomy shadow. The experience made it clear that, when it comes to child-getting, we're just not very lucky (not yet, anyway.) We also don't have much control over what comes next. We just have to wait, and trust, which is not easy right now.
My mom was also in the hospital three times this year, each time because problems with her medication caused her to lose her grip on reality. A long time ago, I realized that I had to raise myself, because my parents hadn't really done it all the way. I wish it could have been otherwise, but to make it, I had to put up a protective wall between my mom and myself. I don't think moms and daughters can ever be truly separated, though. So I've felt the sadness of my mom, who has suffered a lot in her mind, pulling at me across the country this year.
The holidays tend to dredge up that same sadness in me, and this afternoon, shopping downtown, I felt like a stereotypically anomie-laden American consumer. I was headed home, feeling hungry and tired, when I collided with a huge and quiet stream of people at 18th and Church. At the same time, I heard bells.
It only took me a minute to realized that this was Unsilent Night, a musical happening that T told me about. People with boomboxes, each playing a different set of bell-like sounds, were scattered throughout the crowd. It felt just right to join the crowd pouring into Dolores Park, which formed a circle, and listen to the wash of bell tones. I didn't see anyone I knew there, but I didn't feel alone. And all the sudden I felt part of everything, and grateful just to have the chance to be alive right now.